Some of the Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) best and brightest have spent time in Southport for training, and now the Portage Rotary Club can say the same thing.

The Club had the opportunity to visit KF Aerospace on January 23rd to tour the facilities. Vice President of Defence Programs Peter Fedak, who's also been a Rotarian for 11 years, says keeping the connection between the Portage community and the Air Force is essential.

"We show our appreciation of the community while also trying to show the benefits through jobs and economic development," explains Fedak. "Also, having the Air Force in town is a pride of presence."

Throughout the tour, Rotarians were taken through classrooms, offices, gym areas, and were also shown top-of-the-line simulators that students use to get their bearings before taking to the sky. Among those who had the chance, Rotarian Preston Meier tried to fly a helicopter.

SimulatorOne of the simulators KF Aerospace uses.

"I've waited nine years for the simulator flight," says Meier. "I had the opportunity to get in one and I have to admit, it was a short flight. It puts Virtual Reality to shame. We wouldn't be able to have that experience if it wasn't for our relationship with KF Aerospace."

Despite the crash landing on his first attempt, Meier says he would do it again in a heartbeat.

"We're always looking forward to having the community out," says Fedak. "There's a number of events we do, as well as other things we support in town and it's just very nice to be able to have the Rotary Club here, not only as a member but as a Portage la Prairie resident. We're incredibly proud of what we do and show appreciation to the city."

Roughly 80 per cent of RCAF pilots do some form of schooling in Southport, stressing the importance of keeping a strong relationship between the town and Portage.